Keeping It Cheap: Ideas for summer fun in CT

However, that doesn’t mean that after you get home from work or when you have some time off on the weekend that you don’t want to have some fun and let your hair hang loose. (Richard Walker/Flickr Creative Commons)

Summer can be a great opportunity to be productive. Get a job and make some money, take summer classes to help you get ahead, take part in research, get an internship; the opportunities to be a productive human being are endless. However, that doesn’t mean that after you get home from work or when you have some time off on the weekend that you don’t want to have some fun and let your hair hang loose.

But how can you make this happen when all you have is four dollars and a Husky One Card in your pocket and you’re saving your work money for school? Here are some cheap ways to kick back over the summer and take advantage of the weather and freedom from studying and writing essays.

Hiking:

Even here in Connecticut, besides hiding graveyards and crumbling stone walls in our forests, we have a wealth of hiking trails. There are shorter trails, like the Mattabesett Trail in central Connecticut, which is a nice two-mile trek for those of us who spent the last few weeks of the semester in the library letting our muscle mass deteriorate as we hunch over our textbooks and laptops. For any go-getters who are looking for more of a challenge, there are trails like Bigelow Hollow State Park’s six-to-seven-mile trail in the northeast part of the state. No matter where you are in Connecticut, no doubt there are some woods nearby and where there are woods, there tend to be trails within a short driving distance. And the cost is nothing but a sense of adventure.

Beach:

Whether you’re just going to walk along the shoreline, collect shells, build a sandcastle, reenact the scene from “The Notebook” where Regina George thinks she’s a bird or just lay in the sun, Connecticut has a number of beaches you can choose from. If you really need some waves to practice your boogie-boarding skills, Misquamicut State Beach in Rhode Island is always a good choice if you’re on the eastern side of the state. While parking at beaches often does cost you a little dough after Memorial Day, many beaches like Misquamicut are accessible for free if you go after 6 p.m., when lifeguards go off duty. I wouldn’t recommend this as a good time to try out your new water wings, but if you’re just looking to chill this can be a great option.

Drive-In:

While drive-in theaters obviously cost money, if your car fits enough people, spreading the cost between you and your friends can give you a great throwback experience. Connecticut has three drive-ins, located in Mansfield, Southington and Pleasant Valley. The first two drive-ins show first run films while Southington shows family classics. Misquamicut also has a drive-in near the beach, so you could also make a summer evening into a two-part event. Worst case scenario, the movie sucks, you make a move on an Australian girl and end up stranded at the drive-in singing an angsty song about it, but at least you’ll have a story to tell.

Outdoor Concerts:

While most concert series haven’t been announced for the summer yet, there will undoubtedly be a number of free outdoor concerts hosted in parks and outdoor venues. Concerts can always be fun to attend with a friend, whether or not you’re into the music, just to get a change of pace and hear something new.

Trying to be cheap in the summer can be hard when there are so many places to go and things to buy, but if you make an effort, you’ll save money and might discover something new. For example, instead of going to the mall, try going thrifting. Maybe you’ll find a really sweet pair of vintage mom-jeans, which I hear are making a comeback. Other things to try include going to parks, playing sports with friends, upgrading your hacky sack skills and reading books (the fun kind that don’t cost $250 or have any deeper meaning). Undoubtedly, there are fun things to do in the summer in Connecticut, even when your daily budget is the quarter you find in the street.


Alex Houdeshell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.houdeshell@uconn.edu.